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877th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion (AbnEAB)

Photos | Men | Forum

The 877th Airborne Battalion arrived in the United Kingdom in March 1944, and on Omaha Beach on D + 30. They built A-15 at Maupertus, which was the first field on the continent to base medium B-26 bombers and Black Widow night fighters. The 877th was engaged in construction and maintenance of 66 fields in France and Germany.

Aviation Engineers in Mobile Warfare

Company C Group Photo

This photo shows the members of Company C of the 877th AbnEAB. I am unsure where or when it was taken but my guess is England. You can click on it to see a larger version but be warned it is large and will take a while to load. If you can identify any of the men in this photo please . I am indebted to George Keane for scanning the original photo.

Selected Chronology

This is a synopsis of major events in the history of the 877th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion.

DateEvent
1 January 1943877th Airborne Engineer Battalion activated at Westover Field, MA; Maj Gerard Forney commanding. The initial cadre comes from the 924th Provisional Airborne Regiment (Avn).
2 April 1943877th Airborne Engineer Battalion redesignated 877th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion.
3 May 1943Maj Robert L. Webb becomes CO.
10 May 1943Maj Winston C. Fowler becomes CO.
2 July 1943Lt Col Val Price becomes CO.
22 July 1943Maj Robert E. Smotherman becomes CO.
1 September 1943Battalion leaves Westover Field for Grenada Army Airfield, MS for training.
11 February 1944Left Mississippi for Camp Shanks, NY in preparation for overseas move.
27 February 1944Set sail for England on the troop ship Mauritania.
3 March 1944Maj Smotherman promoted to Lt Col.
6 March 1944Battalion arrives at Liverpool, England.
7 March 1944Battalion encamps at Cokethorpe Park, Oxfordshire.
13 April 1944Battalion heads to Kent and suffers terrible loss. One truck in the convoy crashes with two British recon vehicles. In the resulting fire seven men die. Battalion encamps at Bruern Abbey.
8 July 19441st echelon of Battalion lands on Omaha Beach, Normandy. By 10 July, the entire Battalion arrives at A-23 in Cherbourg.
11 July 1944Battalion moves to A-15 (Maupertus).
18 July 1944The Battalion’s heavy equipment arrives.
8 August 1944The Battalion begins maintenance of A-8 (Picauville), A-10 (Carentan), A-14 (Cretteville), A-15 (Maupertus), A-23 (Querqueville) and A-24 (Biniville) airfields.
31 August 1944Battalion ordered to prepare for airborne movement at A-15.
4 September 1944Battalion ordered to A-23.
11 September 1944Battalion flies to Birch, England to prepare to Operation MARKET-GARDEN.
19 September 1944The Battalion will not be used for airborne operations in Holland so Lt Col Smotherman leaves Birch for the Continent.
30 September 1944The Battalion returns to the Continent; HQ to A-43 (St. Marceau), Co A to A-45 (Lonray), Co B to A-44 (Peray) and Co C to A-35 (Le Mans) to take up maintenance efforts.
3 Novermber 1944HQ moves to A-41 (Dreux), Co A to A-39 (Chateaudun), Co B to A-24 (Biniville) and Co C to A-50 (Orleans/Bricy).
January 1945During the 1944-1945 winter, the Battalion qualifies as glider troops.
April 1945Battalion adds A-40 (Chartres), A-48 (Bretigny), A-55 (Melun) and A-58 (Coulommiers) to list of maintenance airfields.
3 May 1945Battalion begins maintenance at A-47 (Orly).
15 May 1945Lt Col Smotherman and the advance party leave for Germany; first Guttersloh and then Lippstadt.
July 1945Battalion is reorganized after losing two companies.
 By the end of the war, the Battalion is spread across the Continent and is maintaining fields in France, Belgium and Germany.

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